Church in the news

The latest news on The Church of Scotland's work, events and activities from external media outlets.

Monday 17 October, 2016

Church in the News 11 October - 17 October

Moderator Designate Announced

There was great coverage of last week's announcement of the new Moderator Designate for 2017-18, Rev Dr Derek Browning.

The story was picked up extensively by the media, includingThe CourierThe Times, The Sun, The Daily Mail, Daily Express and the BBC website.

Dr Browning was also featured on the BBC 1 news at 10.30pm and on BBC Radio Scotland's Newsdrive(1"44).

Very Rev Dr James Simpson Publishes Eighth Book

Dr Simpson's first book of clerical humour Holy Wit, topped the Scottish best-seller list for four months. Last week he published his 8th -- and what he says will be his final-- collection of wit and wisdom: “Uncommon Sense...and comic nonsense.”

The story was covered in The Daily Record andThe Press & Journal.

80 Year old Minister takes new Kirk job

Rev Ray Gaston, 80, has taken up his twelfth new role as a minister since he officially retired in 2002.

Mr Gaston will take up his new post of locum minister at Clackmannan Parish Church and plans to remain there as long as he is needed.

His latest job involves taking the service each Sunday plus around another 16 hours work each week attending to church affairs and making pastoral visits to people in their homes, as well as those in hospital and residential care.

Mr Gaston, who has been a Church of Scotland minister since 1969, said: "Life is for living and I’m extremely pleased to be still able to do what I love, despite my age.

The story was picked up in The Daily Record and The Herald.

Monday 10 October, 2016

Tuesday 4 October - Monday 10 October

Very Rev Dr Lorna Hood Retires

A special service attended by family and friends celebrated the retirement of the Very Rev Dr Lorna Hood.

Lorna's retirement was covered by The Herald and the Paisley Daily Express.

Campaign to Reduce Homelessness

The Moderator, Rt Rev Dr Russell Barr, called for a new national strategy to tackle the "demoralising, degrading and dehumanising" blight of homelessness in Scotland.

Dr Barr has raised his concerns about homelessness with Shelter Scotland, Communities Minister Angela Constance, Housing Minister Kevin Stewart and Edinburgh City Council, made a key note speech at a Scottish Churches Housing Action event on Friday.

The event picked up extensively by press, including the BBC website, BBC Radio Scotland, the Glasgow Evening Times, the Edinburgh Evening News, The Scotsman, The Press & Journal, The Herald, and The Daily Record.

All Creatures Great and Small

The Edinburgh Evening Newsprovided extensive coverage of the annual Greyfriars pet blessing, which was attended by Shetland pony Cruachan 4th from the castle barracks, three cats, and countless Skye terriers.

Dr Liam Fraser, Probationary Minister at Greyfriars said: "It's a testimony to the popularity of the pet blessing that we have had so many people returning with their pets every year. While it's always a fun and high-spirited occasion it serves a serious point of highlighting the value and dignity of animals, and the need of human beings to honour and protect them."

You can see an album of photos on the Church of Scotland Facebook page.

Calls for an overhaul of council tax

Rev Dr Richard Frazer, Convener of the Church & Society Council also appeared in the Edinburgh Evening News calling for a drastic overhaul of the "inherently unfair" Council Tax system.

The Kirk's stance on proposed changes was also highlighted by the Press and Journal and  previously in the Edinburgh Evening News.

Monday 3 October, 2016

Tuesday 27 September - Monday 3 September

New Take A Pew Film

Our latest Take a Pew video sees our pews set amidst the stunning backdrop of Glencoe to host a discussion on how the Church can best serve Scotland's isolated communities, wherever they exist.

Rev Dr Richard Frazer of Edinburgh's Greyfriars Kirk introduces the discussion, and is joined by Rev Gordon Strang of Inverallan Parish Church in Grantown-On-Spey in the Highlands and Rev Sarah Ross of Blantyre Old Parish Church in South Lanarkshire.

Scottish Household Survey

Results from the Scottish Household survey show the number of people who identify with the Church of Scotland has fallen to 25% of the population. In part this reflects a general trend, with 50% of Scottish people saying they are not religious as opposed to 40% in 2009. Rev Dr Richard Frazer, Convener of the Church & Society Council emphasised that despite this the church is working hard to adapt for the future and to meet the changing spiritual needs in Scotland.

The story was covered by the Times, The Herald, The Glasgow Evening Times and on the BBC website. It also featured on the BBC Radio Scotland news last Wednesday at 12.04 and 18.05.

Queen Visits Glenmuick Church

The Queen visited Glenmuick Church, Ballater, to meet locals who had been particular affected by the flooding in the area last December which damaged 600 homes and 100 businesses when the River Dee burst its banks. Rev David Barr gave a tour of the interior of the Church. Thirty local residents are still unable to return to their homes but the Queen praised a strong community effort to assist those who have been worst affected.

The visit was covered extensively by the Press & Journal.

Pressure on Boris Johnson to Help Christians in Pakistan

The Moderator, the Right Reverend Dr Russell Barr, has written to Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson urging him to tackle the ongoing persecution of Christians in Pakistan.

He said:

“Recently I have heard distressing accounts of Christian girls and young women being abducted, forced to embrace Islam and their families being hindered or refused help by the police and justice system.

“Alleged crimes by influential people are not registered or investigated which amounts to police protection for alleged kidnappers and rapists.

“Forcible conversion to any religion is a crime, even under Pakistani law.

“My fear is that if pressure is not brought to bear on the Pakistan government the problem will continue to grow and people will continue to commit such crimes with impunity without any fear of punishment.

“I therefore request that you raise this matter with the Government of Pakistan, asking them to stop this persecution, bring the perpetrators to justice and introduce new legislation as suggested by the Senate committee.”

The Rev Ian Rev Iain Cunningham, Convenor of the World Mission Council also commented on the issue.

You can read more on our website.

Premier and Christian Today both ran stories on the subject.

Monday 26 September, 2016

Friday 16 September - Monday 26 September

Looking ahead this week

Our latest Take a Pew discussion, filmed in Glencoe, will be released online on Wednesday 28th September.

"Don't worry I'll be back by lunch"

The story of a reunion involving some of Jane Haining's former pupils has been picked up by the press as a follow up to last week's release about the discovery of her will. One individual shared a moving recollection of the Gestapo arriving to interrogate Miss Haining, who as she was led away said to the young girls watching on in horror "don't worry I'll be back by lunch". Another recalled being nursed back to health by Miss Haining.

You can watch a video about the event on the Church of Scotland's Youtube channel.

The story was picked up by BBC online, the Guardian, The Herald, The Scotsman, The Press and Journal, The National and the Paisley Daily Express. You can hear World Mission Council Secretary Rev Ian Alexander’s latest radio interview, speaking to Bill Whiteford on BBC Radio Scotland To hear Ian, scroll forward to near the end of the programme at 1hr 25 mins in.  

Further coverage of Jane Haining's will

The discovery of Jane Haining's will also continued to be picked up by newspapers and websites:

The Herald
Daily Record

South African Christian News
Jewish Chronicle
Fox San Diego
New Orleans ABC affiliated channel

Iona Abbey library receives £100,000 grant

Thanks to the grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Iona Abbey, which dates from the 6th century AD will now have funds to preserve its collection of rare Gaelic and early Celtic works. The contents of the library will also be digitised so that it can be accessed online.  

The story featured in following:

BBC OnlineSTV onlineThe Times
Edinburgh Evening News

The Herald Press & Journal Oban Times

St Andrews Declaration

The Courier covered a meeting held last Friday at St Andrews University to combat radicalisation, which was attended by the Moderator. Religious representatives from around the world from Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Buddhist and Islamic communities attended and signed a ‘declaration for humanity against radicalisation’. Local pupils, students and academics also participated in the event. The document aims to promote tolerance, equality and freedom to worship.

Let us build a house campaign

Church of Scotland congregations across South Lanarkshire have raised over £8000 for the Let us Build a House campaign in Nepal, contributing to a total of more than £225,000 across the Church. You can read about this on theDaily Record's website.

Youth Moderator speaks out on mental health

The new Youth Moderator, Andrew Macpherson, released a video highlighting the particularly high rate of suicide amongst young men. To date this has been watched by nearly 16,000 people on our Facebook page.  The story was also published in the Carrick Gazette and Cumbernauld News.